The Future of Social Media in 2010

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Social Media, it’s been a topic for more than a few conversations in 2009.  From Oprah, to Iran, to Michael Jackson, and Starbucks, this has been the year that social media became mainstream.  Quantcast reports that Twitter has grown from 6 million to 24 million from January-October 2009 while FaceBook boasts adding more than 1.5 million new users daily.  And the New Oxford American Dictionary unveiled its word of the year earlier this month as, “unfriended.”

It seems clear that 2009 is truly the year of the New Media.

And for those of us who live in this fast paced world we ask, “So what’s next?”

According to the Gartner Hype Cycle, the future of social media is Cloud Computing, Internet TV, Virtual Worlds, and possibly a new type of microblogging platform.  The Gartner Type Cycle or Curve is the graphic representation of the maturity, adoption, and business application of specific technologies.  The actual Gartner Cycle includes five different phases:  1) Technology Trigger, 2) Peak of Inflated Expectations, 3) Trough of Disillusionment, 4) Slope of Enlightenment, and 5) Plateau of Productivity.

Never heard of the Gartner Hype Cycle?  The Gartner Hype Cycle is most notably known for being used to predict the dot-come burst in 2001 by Alex Drobik in 1999.  Basically, the concept has been around and in some circles is a considerable method in which to predict the future rise and fall of technologies.

Aside from prediction tools like the Gartner Cycle, it doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that social media is here to stay.  Just like a football game, the fanfare and excitement surrounding social media ebbs and flows in large tides as the excitement and anticipation builds or after a big time play.  We are currently experiencing a considerably large amount of attention surrounding social media because of the news and media hype while the influencers move to discover the next big thing.  Over the next year, the social media market will being to flatten as it becomes a form of status quo.  I do believe, however, that there will be a number of new technologies and strategies that will demand our attention in 2010.

  • Video. Either live streaming, you tube, or video blogging, video is the new medium in which influencers are using to communicate their brand and message.
  • Microcommunities. In the last two years, social media has made the world much smaller allowing us access to people regardless of business title or location.  We will shift to the opposite side of the spectrum by focusing on our home towns and communities from where we currently reside.
  • Location AwarenessYour location matters and as microblogging has changed the way we communicate, GPS based applications on our mobile phones will shape how, when, and why we let people know what has your attention.
  • Focus on Mobile Technology. New mobile technologies outside of the iPhone like the Android will demand our attention.   Our thirst for real time news, technology, and information will drive theses tools’ popularity.
  • Internal Social Media Platforms. As companies begin to embrace social media as a legitimate business tool, internal social media networks will rise to the forefront.  I have already begun seeing businesses including Starbucks and NASA develop internal platforms beyond basic instant messaging tools like Yammer.  NASA’s internal communication is called “Spacebook.

I’m excited to see what 2010 and social media has in store for us.

Photo Credit PR Meets Marketing.


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  1. LOVE IT!
    We have an evolution upon us, I am thinking we should sit down, fasten the seatbelt, and enjoy the ride/
    Thanks for sharing,

  2. Thanks, Jessica.

    What I’ve found in talking to HR/OD folks over the past few months is that they have barely begun to think about social media and what it means for their organizations, their functions, or even their own professional/career development. I have to constantly remind myself (and if I don’t, they will) that they don’t know what I know – which means that was is obvious and simple to me is neither to them.

    For those of us who are intimately involved with social media, I would add educating folks as a key strategy for 2010. That’s one of the primary goals of the Social Media and HR (SMandHR) Community, and by necessity has to be one of my main objectives.

    Thanks again.


    Courtney Hunt |
  3. Thanks for sharing. This is very informative and worth sharing with the rest of the growing media world. As a new blogger and to be media socialist, I am excited to see whats in store for 2010.

  4. Not to be a curmudgeon but Gartner did not invent the product life cycle/technology adoption curve, that was some professors from Iowa State in the ’50s. Many have adapted it such as Moore in “Crossing the Chasm” but Gartner did not invent it.

    Lisa Rowan |
    • Thank you Lisa. My source listed Gartner as the inventory of the Gartner Cycle which I hyperlinked in the article. I appreciate your feedback.


  5. The more I see the news, the more I agree with you, social media is here to stay and more and more companies need to start getting into the game, or risk being left behind.

    Great article!

    Anthony Galeano

  6. Thanks for the Gartner Cycle reminder… I agree with Shennee and Courtney… Buckle your seat belt, the ride’s just beginning… And, Education is going to be huge… But it’s all going to depend on who you work for… some companies are just plain and simply more enlightened than others.

    It’s going to be interesting to watch the big companies and how they act/react to their employees who are rapidly taking to social media.

  7. Thanks for the twitter following.

    I want to develop a line of business social media consulting for businesses. Any advice on how to get started?

    My first step is going to be to help a few friends with small businesses and to document the case studies. I have learned a lot about social media through on line courses blogging and self study


  8. Video blogginging is an exciting way to share your daily experiences with your family and friends. I have just started video blogging~*~


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